Posted on: July 22, 2010 11:12 pm

Thoughts for Thursday

This morning on Mike and Mike, they had NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash on to, kind of, rebut the comments made Wednesday morning by NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith, who also appeared on their show.  It was about the ongoing CBA talks that could find us without an NFL season in 2011.  One of the things that was brought up was a cap on rookie salaries.  An argument that was made was that, out of the top 50 highest paid athletes in all of sports, 5 of the men on that list happened to be young men who were drafted in the '09 NFL draft (Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Darius Heyward-Bey, Tyson Jackson, and Jason Smith.)  While I agree that this was a problem, I find the sticking point between the two to be absolutely insane.  Pash agreed on two points with Smith, but disagreed on one other.  First, $100 million of the money that WOULD have gone to rookies would instead be put into funding for retired players for pensions and health care.  That was agreed upon by both.  Second, they both agreed that more money should go to proven players.  No problem with that.  Here's the sticking point.  The union wanted the rookies to only be allowed to sign a 3 year contract and become unrestricted free agents after 3 years, unlike the current system that doesn't allow it until after their 4th season.  The NFL disagreed with this.  Here are the comments straight out of Pash's mouth :

"That completely undermines the whole system of competitive balance in this league.  It makes it impossible for teams to build and plan for the future.  It makes it impossible to do sensible roster planning.  It would so go counter to how the league has been built and be able to deliver the kind of quality entertainment on the playing field that fans have enjoyed that we couldn't accept something like that.  And I can't believe the union would believe that we could seriously entertain something like that."

Greenberg asked how many years a player has be in the NFL, currently, before they become a free agent, which Pash answered 4.  Then he continued with these comments:

"As you know, most players come into this league, especially high up in the draft, signing longer contracts.  There are a lot of oppurtunities to extend, renegotiate, and things like that.  And, in part, those oppurtunities present themselves because they don't become unrestricted free agents until, at least, 4 years.  And usually longer out than that."

That was the response that was given and I can't say that his comments are anything more than completely and totally one sided toward the owners.  Here's the problem with his "logic".  First, rookies, usually drafted high up, only sign longer contracts with teams because they're being offered a TON of money.  More often than not, you're not seeing 3rd rounders and below getting anything more than 3 year deals, allowing owners that "team option" that is restricted free agency.  These owners want to lock up their "star rookie" for a long time and do so by throwing a lot of money in their direction.  Second, the only people who have the oppurtunity to extend or negotiate a contract are THE OWNERS.  Just take a look at guys like Darrelle Revis or Chris Johnson.  While these guys were selected relatively high in the draft, they're looking/looked to renegotiate their contracts but the owners are/were holding out on paying them.  Take a look at the Denver Broncos.  They are notorious for forcing players to play out their rookie contract before signing them to any kind of deal.  The only "negotiating" a player can do is to hold out.  The only problem with that is that the players continue to pay fine after fine after fine, handing their contract money BACK to the owner until the player comes back.  Third, how is it undermining the system of competitive balance?  Considering MOST draft picks don't sign for more than 3 years, how does it make it impossible for teams to build and plan for the future?  I mean, honestly, everything that came out of his mouth on this issue was pure NFL owner rhetoric.

Personally, I agree that there needs to be a rookie salary cap in place to keep losers like JaMarcus Russell, David Terrell, Charles Rogers, Mike Williams and Joey Harrington from being able to retire at the sweet age of 25.  On the other hand, I have absolutely no problem with allowing players to become unrestricted free agents after their third season.  If a team wants to keep a player, offer him more money after his second or third year.  Do things for these players that would keep them around.  As it is, owners have players over the hump anyway.  With the fourth year being the "team option" called restricted free agency, it allows the player to either sign the one year tender, risk injury, and hopefully be an uninjured free agent (ask Javon Walker about that) or sign a long term deal with your current team because they're offering you a significant pay increase.  While the current system isn't totally broken, it definitely needs to be fine tuned and the NFL needs to start taking the players into account instead of continuing to act as if what they're doing is in the best interest of the fans.

Another sticking point between the NFL and the NFLPA is the idea of adding two more games and subtracting two preseason games.  In this aspect, I also side with the players.  18 games in a season is just starting to get out of hand.  How many more games do we need in a season?  How much more do we want to put these players at risk?  If you're a Super Bowl participant, you would now have to play in a minimum of 21 games and a maximum of 22 games.  That is A LOT of games for anybody to play through.  Every year we're seeing more and more injuries.  Adding two more games is just going to increase the amount of injuries.  If they're so interested in delivering "the kind of quality entertainment on the playing field that fans have enjoyed", how could they possible encourage something that would increase the risk of injury to its star players?  Because the fans would love two more games?  Because the fans hate having to pay for four preseason games?  Does the NFL honestly believe that fans are going to STOP watching football if they don't expand the regular season?  No.  Honestly, it's another attempt at a money grab.  Two more games means two more weeks of ratings for CBS, Fox, ESPN, and NBC.  Two more weeks of ratings for networks means more money for the exclusive rights to broadcast games.  It's something that is completely unimportant and unnecessary.  I guess $8.8 billion just doesn't stretch as far as it did 10 years ago.
Category: NFL
Posted on: July 20, 2009 7:02 pm

The return of Michael Vick.

I'm going to start this off by saying that I am a dog lover.  I have a 2 year old beagle and he's my homie.  I want to get an American Pit Bull Terrier one day.  That being said, I think we all need to step back and take a real hard look at the possibility of Vick returning to the National Football League.  Personally, while I don't agree with what Vick did, I don't believe that he should be vilified for what he's done.  We're not talking about Donte Stallworth or Leonard Little.  We're not talking about vehicular homicide while being intoxicated.  We're talking about a guy who funded a dog fighting ring.  Something that, in many urban areas, is treated with the same respect as cock fighting is in the Dominican Republic or bullfighting in Mexico.  The only reason that there was such a fuss made over it is because alot of people like dogs.  There are spider lovers out there, yet nobody is crying over someone killing a spider.  There are mice lovers, yet nobody is crying over mouse traps.  So, before you throw stones, remember that you've probably killed an animal at some point in time.  Let's get over it.

On the other hand, why would a team sign him?  We'll set aside the bad publicity for a second and delve into the fact that Vick just wasn't a very good quarterback.  Yeah, I know, he was exciting to watch.  Big deal.  We saw what happened when Roddy White finally had someone who threw the ball instead of running.  Peerless Price said that he left the Falcons to go back to Buffalo because he was tired of blocking 85% of the time.  The fact of the matter is that if you wanted to stop Vick, just study what the Buccaneers did when they played him.  Why would you want him as a backup?  What has this guy been doing the last two years?  Who's to say that he's even in football shape?  Personally, I think the best solution is for Roger Goodell to suspend Vick for the season.  This serves two purposes.  First, it allows Goodell to deflect criticism for letting Vick back into the league immediately after finishing his prison term.  Second, it allows Vick to work out at state of the art facilities in order to get back into real shape.  It will also show whether Vick is dedicated to returning to football and putting his past indiscretions behind him or not.  Also, I think that Donte Stallworth should be suspended for life.  Drunken driving leads to people dying and it should be considered murder.  Donte Stallworth is a murderer and deserves to rot in prison for the rest of his days.

Thanks for listening.
Category: NFL
Tags: Vick
Posted on: July 16, 2009 4:46 am
Edited on: July 16, 2009 4:47 am

I didn't understand why I dropped from 99-97

Now I know.  I posted a comment after Steve McNair's death, simply stating what I feel is truth.  I guess that an administrator thought that I went too far by saying that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned so they removed my comment.  What was allowed to stay on the board were comments users were making about other users' mothers.  Comments about being sexually active with them and about their hygiene.  I suppose that these comments are quite alright, yet mine crossed the line?  Tsk tsk sportsline.  I'm quite disappointed in you for drawing an extremely fine line.  At no time did I make a comment saying that he deserved to die.  I just said that things like this happen when you get caught up in stupid, ignorant nonsense, which is exactly what the situation dictated to me.  To me, what happened to Arturo Gatti is far more tragic (unless we find out he routinely beat his wife.)  It's my opinion, and it may not be politically correct, but at least I'm not being childish and using kindergarten schoolyard insults about other people's mothers.  Peace.

Category: NFL
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